Geoff Dunbar & Paul McCartney (1984)
Rupert and the Frog Song is a 1984 animated short film based on the comic strip character Rupert Bear, written and produced by Paul McCartney and directed by Geoff Dunbar. The making of Rupert and the Frog Song began in 1981 and ended in 1983. The film was released theatrically as an accompaniment to McCartney’s film Give My Regards to Broad Street. The song We All Stand Together from the film’s soundtrack reached No. 3 when released in the UK Singles Chart. It was released in 2004 as one of the segments of Paul McCartney: Music & Animation. In addition, the film was not produced by Nelvana and Ellipse just like the television series.
The frog chorus on the song We All Stand Together was provided by The King’s Singers and the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral. The flute-playing frog was Elena Durán. The B-side of the single contains a humming version of the song performed by McCartney and the Finchley Frogettes.
Although intended purely as a children’s song in the mould of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, the song We All Stand Together is often derided as an example of McCartney’s inconsequential songwriting. In a satirical cartoon by Stephen Collins of The Guardian in 2012, McCartney is shown recalling his creative partnership with John Lennon in the 1960s, before concluding: “It was a great time, y’know… And then I went on to do The Frog Song.”
Rupert Bear is a children’s comic strip character created by British artist Mary Tourtel and first appearing in the Daily Express newspaper on 8 November 1920. Rupert’s initial purpose was to win sales from the rival Daily Mail and Daily Mirror. In 1935, the stories were taken over by Alfred Bestall, who was previously an illustrator for Punch and other glossy magazines. Bestall proved to be successful in the field of children’s literature and worked on Rupert stories and artwork into his 90s. More recently, various other artists and writers have continued the series. About 50 million copies have been sold worldwide.
The comic strip was, and still is, published daily in the Daily Express, with many of these stories later being printed in books, and every year since 1936 a Rupert annual has also been released. Rupert Bear has become a well-known character in children’s culture in the United Kingdom, and the success of the Rupert stories has led to the creation of several television series based on the character. The character also has a large fan following, with such groups as The Followers of Rupert.